Immigration activists were arrested Thursday outside the Capitol after blocking traffic while pushing for passage of legislation that would overhaul the system.
Specific legislative demands listed in literature distributed by the coalition include: a road map to citizenship with no unreasonable fees and fines; an immigration system that preserves family immigration categories; an employment visa system that encourages the future flows in professions populated by women; and protections for asylum-seekers and victims of human trafficking. In deportation trials they want to ensure due process, the protection of parental rights, expanded access to legal counsel and alternatives to detention.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., addressed the coalition during a news conference before the disobedience and thanked the activists for coming to Capitol Hill. She was the only lawmaker present.
Lofgren gave reporters her insight on the status of immigration legislation: “We knew that we would not have action in September because of the fiscal year ending on Oct. 1, so we understand that, but we need some commitments from the Republican leadership about moving forward on sensible reform.”
Lofgren is a member of the bipartisan group of seven House members working together on immigration. She said the group has drafted their bill “and really we need to see whether it can be introduced.”
Lofgren rejected the idea that the House might have too much on its plate to take up an immigration overhaul.
“No,” she said. “We have the capacity to do more than one thing at a time. This is doable; the question is when will it be done.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.